Tradition runs rampant around Thanksgiving: generations of old recipes, football, Alice’s Restaurant, The Last Waltz, and, of course, a parade of balloons shutting down NYC. What else do you need? If you thought you were covered in the Thanksgiving tradition department, we did too…until a few years ago, when someone blew the dust off a long lost tape — Doug Sahm’s Thanksgiving Jam.

Thanksgiving weekend, 1972: the Grateful Dead found themselves in Austin, allowing Garcia and Lesh to rendezvous with an old Bay Area running buddy, Mr. Tex-Mex himself, Doug Sahm, and piano-journeyman Leon Russell, at the famed Armadillo World Headquarters for a musical cornucopia of roots music. No genre was left untouched – blues, bluegrass, R&B, rock & roll, honky tonk and, naturally, Bob Dylan. All played with an ad hoc band, including members of Texas psychedelic pranksters The 13th Floor Elevators and Shiva’s Headband, with a setlist that effortlessly bounces from hellcat versions of Kristofferson’s “Me & Bobby McGee” and the Stones’ “Wild Horses”, to a don’t-spill-your-beer “T For Texas”, saddled with stompin-the-nails-out-of-the-floorboard cuts like “Hey Bo Diddley” and “Money Honey”. This is a shitkicker of show, best served turned up, with fistfuls of turkey and pint glass of your favorite sumthin’. words/ d norsen

download/tracklisting after the jump…


The first thing you hear as you set the needle down on “Faith and Grace” is the spectral sound of Roebuck “Pops” Staples’ guitar, and then the voices of his children, Mavis, Cleotha, Pervis, and Yvonne. These are the first sounds the Staple Singers put to tape, huddled around a microphone in 1953, recording for the first time for the Royal label in Chicago. “Faith and Grace” was issued along with “These Are They” that year, and the songs have remained unavailable until now, with the release of Faith and Grace: A Family Journey 1953-1976, which includes them on a 7” single along with four discs of music which charts much of the band’s lifespan, documenting their journey from gospel powerhouse to the “house band” of the civil rights movement, from righteous soul ballads to sly, slinky anthems. The band serves as a through line from the blues to gospel, from folk to funk, an American institution defined by the unique sonic qualities of Pops’ trembling guitar and Mavis’ powerful voice and a dedication to their personal faith.

The Staple Singers :: Low Is The Way

“Up until hip-hop, they touched on all these essential sounds of their times,” says Joe McEwen, producer of Faith and Grace, though the combo’s bluesy grooves would be sampled by Big Daddy Kane, Salt-N-Pepa, UGK, and Nelly. The Staples’ style and story was “spectacular” one, McEwen says. The boxset caps off a historic year for the Staples, during which the family’s story, and the late Pops’ in particular, was illuminated in panoramic style. First came the release of Pops’ final recordings, Don’t Lose This, completed by Mavis Staples and Jeff Tweedy, then, the remarkable Freedom Highway Complete, a live Staples set recorded at New Nazareth Missionary Baptist Church in Chicago in April 1965, at the height of the Civil Rights movement. With Faith and Grace, which includes the group’s earliest recordings, one’s able to trace American musical history.

“I look at Pops as the visionary of the family,” McEwen says. “His story is incredibly compelling, beginning with his birth and childhood on the famous Dockery Plantation, which was home to Charley Patton, Robert Johnson, and Howlin’ Wolf, among many others, and then his story subsequent, that he chose the path of the gospel and not the blues — though he learned to play guitar from Charley Patton — and carved out a singular path and sound for himself and his family.”


Our weekly two hour show on SIRIUS/XMU, channel 35, can now be heard twice, every Friday – Noon EST with an encore broadcast at Midnight EST.

SIRIUS 412: Jean Michel Bernard – Générique Stephane ++ Jimmie Sphreeris ++ David Behrman – Interspecies Smalltalk (Part 1 Excerpt) ++ Sao Paulo – Utanfor ++ Grannens Forflutna – Strategi Gul ++ Suzanne Menzel – The Advertising Song ++ Ben Watt – A Girl In Winter ++ William Eaton – Untitled (A2) ++ Jane Siberry – Writers Are A Funny Breed ++ Ilous – La Route A L’Envers – Ilous – Flamophone ++ Heidi Berry – Ariel ++ Sonoko – George Boy ++ Kevin Coyne & Dagmar Krause – I Really Love You ++ David Sylvian – Campfire Coyote Country ++ Moral – Dance Of The Dolls ++ Hiroshi Yoshimura – カモメの永平線 ++ Shelleyan Orphan – Melody Of Birth ++ Michael Stearns – M’ocean – M’ocean ++ Steve Tibbetts – The Secret ++ Robert Wyatt – Gharbzadegi ++ Alice Coltrane – Rama Rama ++ Emmanuelle Parrenin – Maison Rose ++ Mal Waldron – All Alone ++ Mick Audsley – Dark And Devil Waters ++ Pieter Nooten & Michael Brook – After The Call ++ Pauline Anna Strom – Gossamer Silk ++ Shopping Trolley – Roundabout ++ Charlotte Gainsbourg – Le Chat Du Cafe Des Artistes ++ White Hinterland – Dreaming of Plum Trees ++ Françoise Hardy – Till the Morning Comes

Our friend Zach Cowie (Turquoise Wisdom) guests this week during the first hour. Download his latest AD mixtapeThe Use of Asheshere . . .

*Listen for free, online, with the SIRIUS three day trial — just submit an email address and they will send you a password.

New Bowie. There is only one. Via Blackstar, out January 2016.


In 1999 American bluesman Taj Mahal teamed up with Malian kora master Toumani Diabate — together they recorded the transformative and meditative beauty that is Kulanjan. Named after a track from the 1970 album of kora music, Ancient Strings, by Toumani Diabaté’s father Sidiki Diabate, the two bridge their geographical distance and musical styles by seamlessly blending the gruff and somewhat weary vocals of Mahal, mellower and more nostalgic in his picking, and the hypnotic calm of Diabate’s kora, an otherworldly sound in and of itself.

The pair are joined by a group of transcendent Malian musicians, including Toumani’s descendant, Kassé-Mady Diabaté, and the late Ramata “Rah” Diakité on vocals. Diakité (who would die ten years later at the tragic age of thirty-three), has an especially stirring performance on the re-creation of Mahal’s 1977 “Queen Bee.” Transforming the original’s loose AM island vibes into something far more gentle and hushed, it finds Mahal and Diabate’s strings mingling amongst Diakité’s angelic improvised vocals, intertwining with Mahal’s world-worn blues of a voice – it’s a piece that stands entirely on its own. An album opener that immediately transports you in the world of these musicians and the palpable spiritual bond that was formed while creating this music. “Sweeter than a honey bee,” indeed.

Taj Mahal And Toumani Diabate :: Take This Hammer

154613Aussie Andrew Kidman is – for lack of a better term – a renaissance man. Musician, painter, photographer, surfboard shaper, wave rider, filmmaker. That’s a lot of hats to wear by any measure but when he rolled up all of his passions and pursuits into one work – he stumbled upon a bit of magic.

In 1996 Kidman released the pivotal surf film, Litmus. An instant vintage surf odyssey that arrived at the perfect moment. You see – in the mid 90s, surfing was progressing in a manner that focused quite a lot on the shred hard/surf hard mentality… which is not necessarily a good or bad thing but during this time – some of the vintage soul and grace of the craft had been overlooked by the industry. With Litmus, Kidman captured highly stylized, artful surf in the vein of Morning of the Earth or Innermost Limits of Pure Fun. Some true 1970s surf film vibes, which (among other things) focused on the surfer’s relationship with the water…no matter what they rode or where they paddled.

With all that said – of course the film called for a dialed-in soundtrack.

Kidman’s band The Val Dusty Experiment (and others) put together an original score full of meditative, dreamy and challenging folk that served as the soundscape to the beautiful lines the surfers (Derek Hynd, Tom Curren etc.) drew up in the film. The sound and idea was surely rooted in his reverence of those masterful films before him and bringing things back to the communion and spirit of it all…and again, its release might’ve been when folks needed a reminder the most.

Cotton Jones have been relatively quiet since their last studio album, 2010’s luminous and glacial Tall Hours in the Glowstream, a master recording of Cosmic Americana that placed the group in a category all their own. In the years since, Michael Nau and Whitney McGraw have married, had a kid, have another on the way, and have settled into their home of Cumberland, Maryland.

In February 2016, Nau will release Mowing, under his own name, on the Suicide Squeeze label. While not an official Cotton Jones release, the record still features McGraw and a cast of supporting characters crafting woozy AM gems of pop, country, soul, folk, gospel and 60’s tinged psychedelia. Swaying gracefully between breezy and languid, and brimming with charm, it’s got all the fixings of what has made this group one of the finest of the past decade.

Below, Nau shares the album’s first single, “Winter Beat,” a tune that does exactly what it says. Despite the scene he paints of barren trees and blinding snow, the sounds conjure a cozy and fuzzy flurry of psych-pop warmth. It perfectly captures what makes the season so romantically cherished – bundled in with the fireplace lit, a warm drink on hand – yet, seasonally appropriate as well, Nau leaves an air of uncertainty and existentialism to grasp at. Another year coming to an end, what will tomorrow bring? words / c depasquale


Le funk via Les Petit Noirs. 1972. Via Haiti Direct.

Les Loups Noirs :: Pile Ou Face


For the last six months or so I’ve been religiously attending DJ Clyde’s Sunday Night Roll at Skateland in Northridge. True roller skating culture was not something I grew up with, so for me, seeing this place for the first time was mind-blowing. The first thing I noticed was the majority of the skaters were middle aged (or “grown and sexy” as Clyde likes to say.) They were impressively skilled, many of them with custom skates made from oxford shoes. This was and is a place for people who see roller skating as a way of life. The most notable element for me was DJ Clyde the Glide’s hand-selected funk/soul music and how deeply the skaters lost themselves in it. He was playing the types of records I had been digging for, but presented in a new way. This mix is inspired by the music played Sunday nights at Skateland. Enjoy. Daniel T.

Aquarium Drunkard Presents: Skateland – A Mixtape